From: Francis Harper
The mission statement of Jesus was given by the prophet Isaiah more than seven centuries before the Lord’s birth. His mission was assigned by the Father and would be supported by the powers of heaven. “For God so loved the world . . .” (John 3:16).
In the precise timing of the Lord, Jesus read the words of Isaiah, pertaining to himself, at the synagogue of Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, and he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord . . .” (Isaiah 61: 1-2; Luke 4:17-19).
After reading this passage of scripture, Jesus said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). The people of Nazareth could not accept this home-town boy as the anointed one. “And they said, Is not this Joseph’s [the carpenter’s] son?” (Luke 4:21). Others probably asked, “Who does he think he is?” We might have said, “I believe he is afflicted with delusions of grandeur!”
From our vantage point we can say, “He is the anointed one. He was, and is, the one sent to preach and heal. He is the one who gives sight to the blind and delivers the captives. Although Jesus was declared [proven to be] the Son of God by his resurrection (Romans 1:4), the world is still filled with the poor, broken-hearted and the blind. Many remain in captivity, waiting to be liberated and set free.
Sadly, we must say, most of those who are sick, poor, blind and bound in the “darksome prison house of sin,” are not aware of their condition. As Jesus said, “Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). The simple fact is that people—all people—need the Lord. But the vast majority do not avail themselves of his ministry.
As we approach the day of the Lord’s coming, we should expect to see days of increasing evil “as it was in the days of Noah and Lot” (Luke 17). Jesus prophesied: “Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity . . . men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Then Jesus said, “And when these things begin to come to pass [and they are], then look up and lift up your heads, for the day of your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:25-27).
Although barely a teenager, I remember well the troubled days of World War II. I recall President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s [FDR’s] four freedoms: the freedom of speech and worship; the freedom from want and fear. The forces of evil promote the denial of these freedoms. The preservation of them is not entirely the function of the government.
Love to all,